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Finesse Switch Hitter Ranger?


IS this possible?
Treantmonk suggests a high STR build for optimal switch hitting.
However, as a child I remember reading Lord of The Rings, wherein Legolas uses a single white knife when he runs out of arrows at Helm's Deep.

I was wondering if it were possible for this to work?

I would assume Finesse, Piranha Strike, and a buckler to compliment the bow. Probably an eventually +1 Agile dagger.

So, at level 8 for example, I would be rolling a 1d4+1(magic)+6(Agile, assuming 22 DEX)+6 (Piranha Strike)for an average of 15.5 damage. I would also have a slightly higher AC due to the buckler.

Is this competitive enough, assuming I use more of my feats on ranged combat than the usual switch hitting ranger?

any advice is much appreciated!

Is 15.5 dam per hit competitive at 8th level? No, but with that said i certainly think one could make a finesse switch hitter work. Try out the elven curve blade instead, you loose that buckler but gain a d10 damage dice, increase threat range, 1.5 dex to damage, and -3/+9 piranha strike. With a +1 agile curveblade it be 5.5+1+9+9 for an average of 24.5 and an extra 5% crit... Against FE or if your a guide it would be considerably higher.

you don't get 1.5 Dex to damage with an agile weapon... it specifically bars that. Also, Piranha Strike only works with light weapons, which an Elven Curve Blade certainly is not.

Opps i thought it only worked with finesse weapons, which the curveblade is, oh wells.. Might be up a certain creek w/o paddling material then...

I'm working on this for my character.

As a ranger, you can be much more effective sticking to your bow than you will ever be switch-hitting (finesse or not). Now, enemies with reach may be a pain, but after point blank master you don't have to worry about them too. I'm considering doing this only because my archer is killing encounters too quickly as of now and I want to give the other combatants a chance to shine.

I'm see four ways to do this.

1) light weapon and buckler: you will enjoy an higher AC for little cost but damage is low. You have to invest in weapon finesse, power attack (as an archer I assume you have the required 14 STR, if not take piranha strike) and I'd take quickdraw as well. Weapon of choice would be an agile kukri.

2) dervish dancing: bad, you use one more feat and 2 skill points to save a +1 weapon property and do on average 1 more point of damage than option 1. More importantly, you don't get the AC bonus from the buckler.

3) TWF: you already have the DEX to make this work. With two feats more than the first option (TWF and improved TWF) and two agile kukris you get decent damage: at this point however we are looking at 5 feats, which is a lot. On top of that you don't get the AC bonus from the buckler.

4) Elven curve blade: you have to get proficiency but, if you are an elf, this is not a problem. You have to have STR 13 or more to get power attack. With weapon finesse, power attack and quickdraw you go about 6 point of damage (at level 8, 3 from power attack, 3 from weapon) more than with option 1 on each attack. Again, no shield bonus to AC for you.

IMO switch hitting for a DEX based archer should be recreational only: of all the option I value the buckler - light weapon combination the most, since damage will not be impressive anyway.

Grand Lodge

You might want to look at the finesse guide that is being worked on presently.

One thing to think about, of course, is whether you want to stick to damage, in which case point blank master is your goal, or look for other options you can use with a melee weapon, like combat maneuvers.

Which way you go, of course, is up to you.

I've considered a Dervish Dance switch hitter alchemist before. The Grenadier archetype's Alchemical Weapon ability allows you to add alchemical items such as acid flasks to your weapons - that'd be a good damage boost. Also, the Dex mutagen would add +2 to attack and damage, AND buff your ranged attacks (presumably bombs) as well. All that strikes me as some nice synergy.

Otherwise, I'd look to find another way to buff damage if I was doing a Dex-based switch-hitter. Magus could work.

Edit: Obviously, all this is not helpful if you're set on a Ranger.

You will still want some strength for a composite longbow, so you should use Power Attack rather than Pirahna Strike.

Even if you choose to drop strength bellow 13 (again, probably a bad idea), you should still take Power Attack via the Two-Handed Weapon style.

Also, here is the Finesse guide link.

A switch hitter is simply an archer ranger that has a large alternate weapon. I have a switch hitter now and all my feats and combat style has gone into archery. But when I hit with my 2d6 earthbreaker (at level 5, I think with multishot kicking in at 6 archery will do more) I am doing more damage. Unless you are multi-classing with your ranger it is possible for them to have a high dex and a decent str or vice versa and they be an awesome switch hitter.

As an archer you want a high str, certainly you want dex more but wthout str you will do less damage. Finesse switch hitter is inferior both in melee and wth ranged weapons.

Nicos wrote:
As an archer you want a high str, certainly you want dex more but wthout str you will do less damage. Finesse switch hitter is inferior both in melee and wth ranged weapons.

While having a high STR will help your DPR, it is difficult to accomplish without hurting your HP and saves. Archers already do a lot of damage in PF, so doing even more damage at the cost of survivability seems unwise.

The OP build is obviously possible to do, and is probably competitive in many groups. It is not the optimal switch hitter build since that is strength based, but it is probably good enough.

The big issue I see with a finesse switch-hitter is the feat investment. Most switch-hitters I've seen like the 2-hander for melee because it can work just fine without eating up feats.

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